How to Love Your Periods

with Holly Lo

This is an unedited transcript.

Welcome back to the Mondays podcast. I am your host, Holly Lo, and we are embarking on a quest to change how we view our cycles as a women. Today, we’re talking specifically about period health. And you’re going to want to stick around for this because I’m going to give you some of the top tips on how to love your cycle, specifically, your period. Yes, it’s possible. And yes, it’s not that hard. So when we’re talking about cycle health, and we talk about what a what a normal cycle is supposed to be, like, the lack of cramping, the lack of pain, the lack of heavy bleeding and clotting, that’s how it should be. That’s not how it is for many, though, and I have to, you know, respect that we all have a different journey that we’ve been through in our bodies, we all have had different, you know, experiences with our cycles, and how it was taught to us how we took care of our bodies, from everything from the products we use to birth control methods to, you know, how we were raised, eating, all of these things play a huge factor and have a huge impact on our reproductive health, and specifically, our hormone and our period cycles. So we’re going to get right down to it, that the beauty of this is with our body, we have control, we do have a way to make this better, we have a way to make this more than just livable. And that’s a lot about, you know, what we talked about last time was, you know, what, what is the narrative? What is the story that we’ve been taught, and then are continuing to pass on to the boys and the men in our life, but also to the girls and the women in our life? Are we teaching them that this is normal to be in pain to dread, this time of the month? Is it normal to have irregular cycles, and to have hormone fluctuations that don’t fit with our cycle, you know, rhythm, all these things that can build up and become just this mess of health issues over time. That then feeds into fertility issues, it can feed into all kinds of actually, you know, health issues for women, that really the root comes down to what is going on with our hormones and with our reproductive health. So we want to take some control over the things we can control, there’s going to be times when we need some extra help, there’s going to be times when we need, you know, maybe medical interventions to to help with things like PCOS or endometriosis, I totally get that.

But there are things that we do have within our control. So let’s take a quick look. On today’s segment, we’re going to talk about what those are, and just a few tips and options. And then as we move, you know, through and into more conversations about this, we’re going to hear from other people and and just have some good, you know, I think helpful conversation around this topic, to really inspire us to shift the story to start telling a different story. And it’s going to take some work, it’s going to take some responsibility for our own bodies, and how we, you know, really just how we nurture that. So the first one is, and again, we’ve just had some good conversations around the word diet. And I’m not I’m not using that in the term of a fad or anything we’re doing to lose weight, diet being what goes into our body, how we’re feeding and nourishing our body. So there are some known triggers, and some known, you know, guilty, guilty parties in our foods that make a difference that you make an impact in a negative way to our reproductive, you know, cycles into our period health, and can make it worse. And then there are things that make it better. There’s a couple and you’ll hear me say them all the time because it comes up for so many other health issues and so many concerns, with our babies, with our kids with our skin with our gut with our mental health. It all ties into this. But one of the big ones, again, is dairy. It’s a culprit again, and I know we talk about this often I’m always harping on about the dangers of dairy but the reality is until you until you live without it until you eliminate it thoroughly. And for a good period of time, no pun intended. You won’t really see the difference. You won’t really understand what it is I’m talking about unless you you noticeably have trouble with that. So I had no issues I thought with dairy and yet I struggled through most of my teen years with terrible acne, cystic acne. And really, you know, in some cases bad period In cramping, my parents were quite simple. They were not super heavy, I didn’t really struggle with too much of that going on through most of my reproductive years. Other than cramping that was quite intense. Now we’ll get to some of the other things that caused that. But I did start to notice in my 20s, I did start to notice that if I cut out dairy, significantly, not even completely, but significantly, at the time of my period that I had less cramping. And it was just a simple like, Oh, I just noticed this. It wasn’t something I intentionally learned about or did. And then I started to, you know, draw some connections, draw some conclusions and go, Well, I’m going to see what happens. So I would in the week before my period and the week of my period, I would just very intentionally avoid dairy of any sort. I mean, I wasn’t going over the top, but I wasn’t eating pizza, and I wasn’t eating cheese and yogurt. That was definitely wasn’t drinking milk. So those were just two weeks in there that I just learned to not be indulging in that at all. That made a big difference for me, it actually did have quite an impact on it. And I’ve asked other women over the years, who’ve done this as well, and they 100% Will will say the same. Now having gone down this whole trail of living completely dairy free all the time now, I can 100% attest to the difference it makes. It’s not something that, you know, I like to say it’s all or nothing when it comes to some of these things, you just go completely off of it. But I understand that that’s hard. I get it. That’s the reality is not everyone’s willing to go that far are willing to make that step you know right away. So then, like I said, eliminate it the week before the week during as much as you can cut out everything that you know is easy to cut out. If you absolutely must have something in your coffee or tea, use oat milk, oat milk is the closest to regular milk as far as creaminess and taste and texture and all of those things. And you know, especially in Canada, we can get some really good clean oat milk for ingredient oat milk. I make my own, it’s super simple as well. So things like that. It’s really not hard anymore to go dairy free, I feel like there’s no real good reason not to do it anymore. Because we have so many healthy options. No dairy is just one of them. We also want to make sure that what’s happening in our body is easy to process. If our bowel, our intestines, our bladder, if any of those things are not functioning smoothly or regularly on a daily basis, when it comes to our periods, it’s only going to make it worse. Because that that cramping and the feeling in those parts just in our, our uterus, our, again, our intestinal area, or bowel, all of that is going to be a little more sensitive with the hormones happening at that time. So you really want that running smoothly. You want to avoid things that are going to be hard to digest, overly greasy, you know, processed foods. The trick is, that’s usually what we’re craving, isn’t it? Hmm. So when it’s during that week of your period, or the three to four days of your period. And that’s all you want. Honor, you know what your body’s asking for, but just find some other ways to do it. If you know a bowl full of chips is going to work for you to curb that, go for it. Just do it. It’s not going to be the end of the world. But if you’re doing that every single day, and that’s all you’re doing, and you’re having, you know, greasy burgers and fries and all the things that your your body’s demanding, then you’re really going to have some processing struggles after your period ends as well. So we want to just make sure that you’re honoring what your body’s doing through that process. It is shedding it is trying to clean out. So if we can keep it to things that are a little lighter on your body a little easier to digest. Still understanding that yes, there are some hormone fluctuations, there are some cravings that come into play. You can play with that and find ways to satisfy that without destroying the process. That makes sense. One of the things I do for sweets cravings is I love to use. I have a couple of things that I use but I love to use an oil that we use called Slim and Sassy and I put a couple drops of in some water and I sip on that through the day. It’s got peppermint, it’s got great fruit, it’s got some really good and cinnamon. Really good things in there to help curb cravings cinnamon is amazing for curbing sugar and you know, junk food cravings. So that’s another bad option. I use pure Cinnamon, cinnamon bark oil from doTERRA I put a drop in my water I drink it tastes amazing. It’s not super spicy or anything like that. But it has an incredible ability to balance blood sugar and just help with some of those those cravings. So find what works for you. For me again, dark chocolate. I don’t love dark chocolate, but when I have a chocolate craving, and especially at that time of the month, if I use just a one or two squares of dark chocolate, it satisfies that craving but I also don’t love the taste of dark chocolate. So it it I don’t want to keep eating it either. Does that make sense? So It’s not bad for me, it’s not, you know, giving you the dairy issues. And it’s not loaded with sugar and all those things. So find what works for you. But the idea is you want to nourish your body at that time in a way that’s easy to process. It’s nurturing to your body, it’s, you know, comfort food is completely great. I love to do soups and stews and things like that, during the week of my period, things are easy to eat, easy to reheat easy to make, you know, stuff like that, if I can throw it in the Instant Pot, you know, my energy levels are low during the week of my period. But something I can cook up for the whole family in, you know, under 10 minutes, I’m good. If it’s something that I can make it a batch, and I can bake it or whatever, right? Find something that works for you. But be really mindful of things like dairy, processed foods, and high processed grains, it’s going to cause more issues as far as cramping goes, bloating, just discomfort in general. And, you know, it’s as far as even goes as far as breast tenderness and things like that. So keep that in mind. It’s an important one. All right. Now moving beyond that, you know, in general, what you know what healthy eating looks like, I don’t think I need to give too many lessons on that we’ve had some great conversations on in the past on nourishing our bodies and our, our behaviors around food and things like that. So being mindful of that being mindful of what is happening in our body, hormonally. What our cravings are telling us and how we can in a in a safer or, you know, gentler way and our body kind of honor some of those things. That would be the goal for dealing with diet dealing with what goes into our body. But what about the products we’re using at that stage to this could be like a series in itself. I feel like I could talk forever about just the industry of, of feminine hygiene products and the way we have not advanced in some areas, and then made incredible advancements in other areas. And I think again, it’s about changing that story. It’s about changing the narrative of this is just what you have, this is just what you use, this is what I use. It’s what my mom used, whatever. It’s looking at what’s available now and what works. And we’ve come a long way. Let me tell you, not all of it’s good. Not all of it was a good advancements not all of it was super helpful, because there are many things that are on the shelf right now that contribute to our heavy bleeding, it contributes to our pain, it contributes to cramping, it can contribute to fertility issues, PCOS and endometriosis. All in the products that are meant to help us while we’re having our period. So really being mindful of the idea that we’re marketed. This stuff is like thrown at us, we are marketed this as you know, big money. It’s a billion dollar industry as far as women’s health is concerned and reproductive health. And we really need to keep that in mind when we’re looking at products. Right? If the idea is, the more they sell to us more money they make, right, follow this train of thought, because this is literally the truth. This is how this works with with some of these companies, if they can sell more products, you’re going to need to buy more products, because you’re going to be bleeding heavier, you’re going to need more of their product. So how can they ensure that they ensure that by using ingredients that literally leach blood out of the body faster, it actually pulls it out. That’s not how it’s meant to happen. Our lining of our uterus is knows how to strip away, our body knows how to expel that with some very simple, you know, hormone changes. And sometimes the cramping we’re feeling is the is that lining just the muscles contracting and letting it pull away. So it makes sense when you think about what’s happening, it makes sense to have a bit of discomfort. It’s not that it’s going to be nothing. But it doesn’t make sense that it’s painful. It’s meant to be a very natural smooth process that’s happening within our body in the same way that we don’t really pay attention to the fact that our kidneys are processing, you know toxins out of our body that our liver is processing toxins. We don’t think that through. It’s a big process, but it shouldn’t be painful and it shouldn’t be right now in this case, you’re actually shedding like a skate a snake which shed its skin you’re actually shedding the lining internally. So it makes sense that there might be some discomfort. Do you hear the saying but it’s the levels it’s the it’s what we’re used to. It’s what we’re we’re accepting as normal? That’s not quite right. So the products we’re using like your typical standard, and I’m not going to name a bunch of names, but you know who the big names are, you know, the big brands are that are on the shelf in the drugstore in Walmart. They have high levels of formaldehyde in them. bleach and plastics, carcinogenic compounds in the past especially and templates, and there’s a reason why Toxic Shock is an issue. There’s a reason why there’s allergic reactions, why you have clotting, bleeding heavier. That’s a lot to do with what product is pressed against your body for a long amount of time. Now, I’m not going to go into diapers, because that’s a whole other story. But it is very similar to the toxins in diapers, and the rise in infertility and the rise in fertility issues and reproductive issues. And so keep in mind, if it’s on your body for a long amount of time, you need to think about that if it’s on a part of your body that is an open wound in a sense, or is doing its job bleeding out every month, then it is really important that whatever is on there is neither low toxicity, no toxicity, or has, you know, no interference in that process. So let’s talk about that for real quick. Sec. What are some good products that are available? Right? You’re, I’m telling you these things are horrible. They’re full of toxins. Now what? I have to do something right, there’s a whole list of things that you could go through, I have fallen in love with period underwear. The company I use all the time is NYX brand. Okay, and i x i love them. They have everything from teens right up, they have a period starter kit for girls, I love that. I they have heavy, they have postpartum, they’re phenomenal. So I was super nervous the first time I tried them because they feel like regular underwear. Like no word of a lie. I was like, There’s no way on my heavy day that you know, my first day of my period that this is going to be enough. It is. And yes, I need a couple of pairs throughout the day I change them out. I give them a rinse in cold water and they go in the wash at the end of the day. It really is not that big of a deal. It really is not that much more to what I’m doing in my life. But here’s the kicker, it made a massive difference in the bleeding of the amount that I was bleeding, any cramping, discomfort, all of those things were dramatically lessened when I switched to those. The same could be said when I switched to natural care was another company that I absolutely adore. So much so that I carry those in our shop. It’s something that I used as a as a postpartum labor and postpartum doula. It was something that I would recommend to clients, because natural hair as a company had these amazing. They’re called mama pads. And they were just an alternative to what the hospital gives you which again, is just chock loaded with chock full of toxins. And it’s because it’s what they have. It’s what they use. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s disposable. Not a lot of thought goes into that. And yet after I had my first baby, and I had a massive allergic reaction, not what you want to be dealing with down there, after you have stitches. And that’s what happened with my first I had second degree tearing, I had a running the 11 stitches, I love in a running stitch of 11 stitches. And it was not fun. Let me tell you postpartum recovery took months for me. And a lot of that I found out after was because of the the larger pads that they give you in the hospital, like attendance and things like that. I reacted violently to them. My body was like, Heck no, so many toxins were in those. So I again, when I was having my second baby, I’m like this is not happening. I’m going on search for something better. I came out came across those I had used them with clients and recommended them because of all the things I read about them. I had used them myself, gave it a try and again was blown away. My postpartum recovery was, I think three weeks total, as opposed to six to seven weeks. Way less bleeding less no no allergic reactions, no itching or swelling, I was able to make popsicle pads with them, you know for postpartum right away all these good things. So those are two companies that I adore. And I don’t benefit any way from promoting them. In a sense, we carry natural hair in our shop more for me and for anyone else. But I figured I might as well put them in the shop as well for the people to try. And they make all your regular disposables, except they’re chlorine free, they don’t have formaldehyde or plastics free, and they work the same and they’re disposable, around the same price as well. So the point is, there’s so many good options now that will save you some pain and some bleeding if you just made a simple switch like that. So consider that switching over to something you know that is a natural based disposable or something like a period undies or a washable pad. Huge difference. Personally, I avoid tampons at all costs unless I have to use them and in that case, I would use an aftercare version of the templates. Are there things like the Diva Cup or you know whatever brand you like of the silicone cups. They’re a little messy little tricky to get used to can be uncomfortable if you have a low lying cervix. or a tilted cervix or any of those things going on, it can be a little uncomfortable and tricky. So they’re not my favorite. But if you love them, brilliant stick with that. The idea is you want to not interrupt the process of what your body’s doing. Right, you don’t want anything in there or on you, that’s going to make it longer, heavier, harder, more painful, any of those things, it should not be causing inflammation, it shouldn’t be causing any toxicity. So give that some thought maybe give a little clean out to your your period products, and a little overhaul and see what works for you.

We’re going to talk about similar things in just a second. So hang tight, I want to cover two more tips on how we can make this a little easier.

Alright, so we’ve talked about what goes into our body as far as food, what goes on to and into our body as far as period products, right feminine hygiene products, whatever you want to call it. Now, let’s talk for a second about the emotional side and the hormone side and what’s happening in our body stress levels. Oh, man, when you think of the ebb and flow of your cycle throughout the month, we talked a little bit about this last time, but how that energy level starts to rise as you head into your ovulation stages or the week where you’re gonna ovulate, you have higher energy, you feel good about yourself, you feel sexy, all those things are great. And then as soon as our relations over that’ll that’ll flow for a bit further, but then it starts to drop a bet your production might slow down, like as far as work production, maybe your creativity might slow a little bit,

you start to be a little more of a homebody, like there’s, there’s these kind of, again, cycle to all of this. It’s why it’s called the cycle. So when you get to that stage, where you’re just feeling like you need some nurturing, you need some alone time, maybe you need to sleep a little longer, leading up to your period, paying attention to that. And honoring that is really important. It is key to again, that smooth process of letting your body do what it’s trying to do. If we are in the midst of high stress, and we are not paying attention to our cycle, you know, maybe we’ve overbooked ourselves leading up to our period, or we’re, you know, doing something stressful during the week of our period, whatever that looks like. It’s sometimes it’s unavoidable, I get it. I mean, we can’t plan every event in our life around our cycles, unfortunately, I’d like to, but it doesn’t always work that way, especially if it’s other people planning it. However, you can get pretty good at, you know, looking ahead, figuring out and eliminating some of the stressors around that time, the week before three to four days before your period of showing up. And then the week of its I just call it my hibernate mode, it’s where I just want to just chill out, I want to be home more, I want to eat good food, I want to watch a movie, you know, it’s knowing that that’s okay. Number one not beating yourself up. Because you have a few days where you don’t feel productive at all. That’s normal. And then number two, it’s knowing that the higher level stress that’s happening, if you have a lot of, you know, the stress hormones flowing through your body, your cortisol might be in fight or flight mode nonstop based on your lifestyle. If that’s the case, then you are definitely going to struggle with heavier periods, more pain with, you know, cramping. And it’s just not the not the way our bodies are meant to process at that time. We don’t want to interfere with the natural normal hormone process, we don’t want to have cortisol running the show. So finding time in the few days before your period starts to take in a yoga class or do some alone time or you know what go to the float tank, whatever you need to do to just take a breath and de stress a little bit. And nurture yourself. Do that. Take a day or two, whether it’s you know, one day a week, and you know, once during your period once the week before, once the week after, it’s a fantastic time to just spend time, right if you can find 1015 minutes every day, to have a destress few moments, whether it’s a bath at the end of the evening, whether it’s, you know, time for a walk in nature, whatever that looks like for you taking time to de stress to breathe, and to honor where your body’s at and your cycle. By doing that you’re going to have a smooth process as far as your period goes. Now, if you are someone who loves exercise, if you’re someone who you know loves to work out or whatever that looks like for you, maybe you have an actual workout routine that you do, maybe you are into CrossFit or things like that, whatever that might be for you. This plays into it as well. As much as I talk about our productivity in business and in our you know as entrepreneurs with our cycle and being honoring to and understanding it. The same goes for any, any sports or athletic, you know, endeavors or hobbies that you’re doing that involves physical movement, that’s really important too. So knowing that you are going to have some extra energy throughout your ovulation, you know, phases and the week after around that time, go for it, right? Do those higher energy things do the higher impact things, whatever it is that it is you’re pursuing, for physical fitness, or your you know, your just your movement at the time, then, you know, capitalize on that timing. But then understand that your body like I said, need some of that rested, need some of that nurturing in the days before your period in the week of your period, not to say you don’t, if you enjoy working out during a period, then definitely go for a bike ride, you know, go go for a ski, whatever that looks like for you do that it doesn’t mean you suddenly can’t do anything, if you feel up to it, and your body is saying yes, then do it. But if it’s not, this is the time where I’m saying don’t push through, don’t be you know, don’t do the no pain, no gain attitude, this is the time to honor your body and say, Okay, if it’s if I’m not feeling it this week, there’s a reason. And it’s okay, you know, I get a free pass, to take a break, or to do some lower impact, to do some yoga, to do some Pilates, to go dancing to whatever that looks like for you to find something a little gentler on your body so that it it can continue focusing on the work it has to do. We don’t need to give it all these other things, you know, other other jobs and other tasks. It’s the same with alcohol and you know, drinking and things like that. Your your liver doesn’t need more to work on your you know, kidneys don’t need more work on all of that stuff. Just go easy on your body. Give it the the honor and the respect it needs during your period. And it will change things I promise you when you combine these four things, your diet, the products, you’re using your stress levels and your movement, when you put those together. And you know what works for you. And it’s just about thinking them through, right and knowing your cycles. So when you put those together, it actually has a really beautiful impact on your body and your body will pay you back for that in a good way it will, it will respect what you’ve done. And I’ve seen this time and again, not just in my own body. I’ve seen it with people who do have PCOS who have endometriosis who have irregular periods who have painful periods, heavy periods, when they clean up their their body when they clean up their gut, when they start to pay more attention to their cycle and respect those stages of their cycle, when they switch out their products for known you know chemical filled ones for natural options. And work on paying attention to eliminating a eliminating as much stress as you can, or those stressors that maybe don’t need to be there at those times of the month that are self induced. And then just watching what movement makes you feel good, deciding what if you need movement on those days, what kind of movement is best. Honestly, if you combine those I would, I would probably be able to bet on that you would feel better on during your periods, your hormones would level out more. And I’m not even touching on natural remedies. I’m talking about all the supplements I use and the oils I use, because there really is a ton of information and product out there. If there are issues going on. In general, though, those are the things within our control. And those are the things that we can as we connect the dots to what we need personally for our own reproductive health, maybe you don’t need all of these things. Maybe you’ve mastered some of them and others you’re like that’s that’s a good one to remind myself, maybe I should tweak this. Maybe it’s about just following your cycle right now maybe you need to do some testing, you know, on a monthly basis to know when you ovulate to know if you’re ovulating to know when your track when your periods start and stop. So you see a rhythm when you see your cycle, it’s very eye opening I found it was very interesting to then track on my own business calendars. You know my scheduling? Why was I wanting to cancel things on those days all the time? Why was this always an issue for me trying to get things booked in on the day before the first few days my period, because I just can’t show up the same way on those days. It’s that that is just the truth for my body. And then honoring that and saying okay, this makes total sense. Now I understand not to do not to book not to try this, this or this. And that expectation changes things. When you know how to plan your life a little differently. When you know how to work with your body in its regular rhythms. You will see a difference. I can promise you that. So I’m looking forward to talking more about this we’re going to share more I’ve got my sister coming on for our what your mama didn’t tell you episode we’re going to hear from dawn and some of her wisdom on her experiences through cycle troubles.

And then we’ll have some more guests talking about this We’re gonna cover so many fun things as we go into this. I’m looking forward to it. So make sure you stick around, hang in for the full the full series and pop in and leave your comments. I’d love to hear back feedback is always exceptional for me because then I know what you want to hear. I know what you’re taking away from this. So let me know what you think. And really, let’s love our cycle again.